Just how hot is that chilli sauce?!Susan Carter
Do you ever ask yourself “just how hot is that chilli sauce?”! If you are looking to purchase some sauce, but not sure which to choose, this is your Heatseekers beginner’s guide.
People’s tolerance to chilli heat varies dramatically. If you are lucky enough to live in or near Perth, you may well have had the opportunity to try our sauces at a chilli festival or market. This is of course the best way to gauge your own tolerance. We are often surprised how some people seem unaffected by our hottest burn-your-face-off sauce! Yet others really struggle with even our mildest product.
Firstly, it helps to get some insight into the Scoville Heat Scale. This measures how much capsaicin (the chemical that causes chillies to feel hot) is present. For detailed information on exactly how it is calculated, you can read more here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capsaicin. You will often see Scoville Heat Units abbreviated to SHUs. To put it in perspective, a jalapeno, which is considered a mild chilli, clocks in between 2000 and 8000 SHUs. At the other end of the scale, a Carolina Reaper can reach 2 million SHUs! Pure capsaicin itself is 16 million SHUs, and is considered a highly dangerous chemical and must be handled with extreme care. Our sauces themselves haven’t been officially tested, so we can only give you a rough idea based on the variety of chilli they contain. So, here is a list of our Heatseekers chilli sauces in approximate ascending order of heat level:
Mary Jane’s Chilli Mango Sauce (6/10 heat level)
We specifically developed this sauce to cater for those with a relatively low heat tolerance. But don’t be fooled – it’s still pretty spicy! It is made with yellow Scotch Bonnet chillies, which are related to the habanero and measure around 400,000 SHUs. This is approximately 100 times hotter than a jalapeno! But when combined with delicious mango, yellow capsicum, onion, honey and wholegrain mustard the heat is tempered. We call this our ‘gateway’ sauce – it is a good introduction to hot sauce, and is hopefully so tasty, it may lead on to even hotter sauces! (Some of you may get the “Mary Jane” reference…)!
Smokey Jolokia Steak Sauce (8/10)
The original and best! Smokey Jolokia was the first ever sauce created by Wildfire Chilli in 2009! At the time, it was ahead of its game – it was so much hotter than anything you could get in the supermarket, but managed to combine heat without sacrificing flavour. It is still our best selling sauce to this day!
The heat comes from the Bhut Jolokia (aka Ghost chilli). This was the hottest chilli in the World at the time, at just over 1 million SHUs. It also contains Chipotle chillies, which are smoked, dried jalapenos.
Infernum is very similar in flavour to Smokey Jolokia – but we added even more chillies! In fact this sauce contains at least 11.5% chillies! We are now getting into the realm of experienced chilli-heads, so novices proceed with extreme caution!
Chocolate Lobotomy (9/10)
We have to be so careful when we have Chocolate Lobotomy available for tasting at our market stall! Children and old ladies cry out “Oooh look, chocolate!” and dive right in before we can stop them – this inevitably ends badly! Although there is some cocoa in this sauce, it is made with the superhot chocolate-coloured chillies: Chocolate Scorpions, Douglah, Chocolate Bhutlah, even Chocolate Reaper! These all rate between 1.2 -1.5 million SHUs! So yes, you initially get that slightly sweet, chocolatey taste, but then the chillies smack you in the face, leaving you gasping for breath!
Knockout Superhot Ketchup 9/10
This is another of the original delicious Wildfire Chilli recipes. In 2011, the Butch T Scorpion was crowned the Hottest Chilli in the World at 1.4 million SHUs. Around the same time, the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion was also a contender. So we use both of these varieties in this popular condiment. Another sauce for superhot chilli connoisseurs only!
Now things move to a whole new level! The next three sauces are strictly for confirmed, experienced chilli-heads. These sauces must be treated with the utmost care and respect! With the development even hotter chillies over the years, we have realised that our heat rating score ‘out of 10’ is inadequate!!
Arson Fire Superhot Chilli Puree 15/10
Arson fire isn’t technically a sauce, as it contains no other ingredients or flavouring except fresh chillies and a little vinegar. At the time, the current hottest chillies in the World were the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion (1.2mil SHUs) and Butch T Scorpion (1.4mil SHUs). We also added some Bhut Jolokia to the mix! There are very few mere mortals who can eat this directly on their food! However, small amounts added to cooking can really ramp up the heat.- – but use sparingly and with caution – you can always add more chilli if it’s not hot enough, but you can’t add less!
Carper Demon Superhot Reaper Puree 16/10
Then in 2013, along came the Carolina Reaper chilli. It is still the current Guinness record holder for the Hottest Chilli in the World. It measured an incredible average of 1.6million SHUs! Carpe Demon is the hottest ‘natural’ sauce you can find, as it contains only the Carolina Reaper chilli. For reference, that is maybe 250x hotter than a Jalapeno! We call this the reaper creeper, as the heat doesn’t fully hit you at first. It gradually builds over several minutes, with a heat so intense it makes your ears feel like they are vibrating – you may even feel your soul leave your body! This lasts a full 10 minutes or more, so don’t make the mistake of eating more before the effects have reached their peak.
Incinerator Extreme Chilli Sauce 20/10
So how can you get a sauce even spicier than reaper puree? The answer is by adding something called an extract. This is made by isolating capsaicin, the chemical that makes a chilli burn. There are two forms: capsicum oleoresin, which is a dark, oily substance with a heat rating of up to 9 million SHUs; and the more pure form of capsaicin crystals, which are 16 million SHUs. The oleoresin has an unpleasant smell and after-taste, so although it can make a sauce extremely hot, it impairs the flavour.
We use the 16 million SHU capsaicin crystals in our Incinerator sauce. First we make a yummy hot sauce with superhot chillies, peaches, pineapple and ginger. Then we add a small amount of capsaicin crystals dissolved in pure alcohol to each bottle. This makes probably the hottest sauce you have ever tasted, but still with great flavour. At events, we only allow tasting of just a tiny amount on a toothpick – and this still blows people’s minds!